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Summer scents: create a soothing world of fragrance in your backyard.

During the warm months, aromatherapy should be simple. No need to heat oil or light candles. Just walk outside, take a deep breath, and inhale the perfume of your plants. Not smelling anything? Now's the time to remedy that. Some of the most intensely fragrant flowers on the planet--gardenia, jasmine, honeysuckle, tuberose--need summer's heat to flourish. Now is when you're most likely to find them in nurseries and when they like to be planted.

Put in something to enchant your nose everywhere you walk and wherever you stop and sit. Edge a path with lavender or dianthus. Surround a garden bench with heliotrope or aromatic foliage plants like scented geraniums. Put in a sweet-smelling night-bloomer like moonflower or Nicotiana sylvestris around your spa. When you're finished, your garden will be a blend of sweet florals, bright spices, and earthy herbals, just like the best perfumes. Then stroll your path, or settle down on a bench and enjoy the aroma that provides the therapy you need at that moment.

Some of the plants we list, such as citrus, can take only light frost. In cold climates, consult a nursery in your area for substitutions.

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RELATED ARTICLE: 12 ways to use perfumed plants

1 Patchwork of thyme. Put creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) between pavers.

2 Hedge of lavender. Flank a path with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (L. dentata), sweet lavender (L. X heterophylla), or lavandin (L. X intermedia 'Provence').

3 Splash of fennel. Add licorice-scented fennel to your vegetable garden (it'll attract beneficial insects as well as smell good). Mix in aromatic herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme.

4 Tapestry of herbs. Cover a berm with low-growing aromatic herbs such as basil, prostrate rosemary, sage, and lemon and lime thyme. Accent the planting with a cluster of scented geraniums (lemon, peppermint, and rose varieties are the most fragrant) and a single fragrant shrub rose such as 'Abraham Darby' (pale apricot).

5 Bank of roses. Grow fragrant varieties like 'Angel Face', 'Double Delight', 'Fragrant Cloud', and 'French Perfume'.

6 Circle of pinks. Surround a birdbath with cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) or cottage pink (D. plumarius) for a cloves-with-vanilla scent.

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7 Spritz of citrus. Plant a tree whose fragrant flowers or fruits scent a path. Try 'Eureka' lemon and 'Valencia' or 'Washington' navel orange.

8 Scented surround. Flank a bench with white heliotrope and summer phlox, and put Nicotiana sylvestris behind. Flowers of all three will catch the moonlight and perfume the air around you.

9 A cover of vines. Wrap a fence or arbor with a perfumed vine such as giant Burmese honeysuckle (Lonicera hildebrandiana), Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica), Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa), or a fragrant climbing rose. To stretch the fragrance season, add a spring bloomer such as wisteria.

10 Flowering shrubs. Plant a row of puffy shrubs--whose flowers are especially fragrant on warm afternoons and evenings--in front of a fence. Such plants include Mexican orange (Choisya ternata), sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans), and tobira (Pittosporum tobira) or Victorian box (P. undulatum).

11 Floating fragrance. Fill a pond with tropical, day-blooming water lilies (Nymphaea).

12 Perfumed pots. Add scented plants to your patio's containers. Bouvardia longiflora, chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus), gardenia, lemon verbena, Oriental lilies ('Acapulco', 'Casablanca', or 'Stargazer'), and tuberose are good choices. Plant a dwarf angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) in a large pot (at least 18 in. diameter). Place it on or near a patio, where its fragrance can be enjoyed from a table.

ILLUSTRATION BY RODICA PRATO
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Title Annotation:Planting Plan; related article: 12 ways to use perfumed plants
Author:Cohoon, Sharon
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:582
Previous Article:Easy-care color.
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